Making A Mission Statement (Part 5)
Well, we’ve arrived at the final part of this journey through this chapter we’ve been looking at by Matt Perman in his book “What’s Best Next”. We’ve been looking at creating a mission statement based on the chapter called “What’s Your Mission? How Not to Waste Your Life”. This week, we wrap up the series and put some conclusions to the matter. So here’s the final part of that chapter for you to consider.
An Example From The Best Mission Statement In The History Of The World
When creating your mission statement, it’s helpful to see examples. Jonathan Edwards’ seventy
resolutions are one of the best examples of a biblically grounded, God-centered mission statement in
the whole world.
Edwards didn’t organize his resolutions into the three segments of mission sentence, core
principles, and beliefs, but you see those strands running through them. (If you prefer to just state your
mission as a set of core principles that includes your purpose and the gospel as well as your guiding
principles, that works just fine.)
Here is Edwards’ first resolution, which is essentially the purpose statement of his life (the core
purpose part of the mission statement):
Resolved, that I will do whatsoever I think to be most to God’s glory, and my own good, profit
and pleasure, to the whole of my duration, without any consideration of the time, whether now,
or never so many myriads of ages hence.
Resolved to do whatever I think to be my duty and most for the good and advantage of mankind
in general. Resolved to do this, whatever difficulties I meet with, how many and how great
Here are some of Edwards’ most significant other resolutions that reflect the guiding principles
2. Resolved, to be continually endeavoring to find out some new invention and contrivance to
promote the aforementioned things.
3. Resolved, if ever I shall fall and grow dull, so as to neglect to keep any part of these
Resolutions, to repent of all I can remember, when I come to myself again.
6. Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live.
22. Resolved, to endeavor to obtain for myself as much happiness, in the other world, as I
possibly can, with all the power; might, vigor, and vehemence, yea violence, I am capable of,
or can bring myself to exert, in any way that can be thought of.
62. Resolved, never to do anything but duty; and then according to Eph. 6:6 – 8, do it willingly
and cheerfully as unto the Lord, and not to man; “knowing that whatever good thing any man
doth, the same shall he receive of the Lord.”
11. Resolved, when I think of any theorem in divinity to be solved, immediately to do what I
can towards solving it, if circumstances don’t hinder.
13. Resolved, to be endeavoring to find out fit objects of charity and liberality.
28. Resolved, to study the Scriptures so steadily, constantly and frequently, as that I may find,
and plainly perceive myself to grow in the knowledge of the same.
You can find all of his resolutions online, and I have also created a version of them on my website
that groups them into categories.
Where To Put Your Mission
One of the biggest traps people fall into when creating a mission statement or list of goals or any
other such thing is that once they complete it, they never look at it again.
Now, in one sense, simply the act of creating a mission statement is helpful and will influence
you. But it’s actually not hard to avoid the trap of forgetting to look at it again.
Sample Mission Statement
To do all the good I possibly can, for as many people as I possibly can, as often as I possibly
can, in all spheres of life, regardless of whatever difficulties I meet with, and to do this to the
glory of God through Jesus Christ.
1. Love my neighbor as myself, and love other believers as Christ has loved me.
2. To be proactive in doing good for others, and seek their welfare in everything I do, in
any and every realm of life.
3. To be well organized, not simply for its own sake but to make the doing of good easier
and more likely and friction free.
I am a child of God who has been forgiven and redeemed by Christ alone, through faith alone, to
the glory of God alone.
The reason people forget to review their mission statement, goal statements, and other such things
comes down to two things: (1) They don’t know how to create a routine for reviewing it, and (2) they
don’t make it easily accessible.
The routine side of things is simple: review your mission statement in your weekly review, which
we will talk about in part 6, “Execute.”
In terms of the second question, here’s where to put your mission: Create it in a document, or in a
mind map using Mind Manager or another program, or wherever feels natural to you and will be easy
to access. I am also going to have you add a few other things to it in the next chapters as well to get it
fleshed out a bit more.
Your mission is a way of “remembering” everything Jesus commanded (Matt. 28:20). That’s the
ultimate value in it. You can do it in whatever format you want, and you can call it whatever you
want. Just be deliberate not only to know what Jesus commands for us but also to be intentional about
remembering it to aid you in the most important (and nonnegotiable) thing of all: doing it.
There are two brief things to consider before we bring this chapter to a close.
Living with Purpose Together
Don’t live your life alone or define your purpose in individualistic terms. We are to live on purpose
together. This means having a group of like-minded Christian friends and being a part of a good local
church. And if you really want to give feet to your mission, join up with other like-minded people in
creating organizations and ministries and businesses to advance these purposes together.
Organizational Mission Statements
The focus of this chapter has been personal mission statements. But mission statements are also
critical for organizations. They are, in fact, an essential tool for leadership — as long as the mission
statement is something the organization actually means and is stated clearly and simply, rather than
with fancy, wordy language.
Many of the principles for creating a personal mission statement carry over to creating
organizational mission statements, but there are a few core differences:
1. If you are a ministry or faith-based nonprofit, your statement of faith or core doctrinal beliefs
are the core beliefs component of your mission statement.
2. For businesses and nonprofits that are not faith-based, there are just two main parts to an
organizational mission statement: core purpose and core values.
3. What I’ve termed core principles for your personal mission statement is best termed core
values in organizational mission statements. When defining your core values as an
organization, it is best to limit them to between five and nine. Any more than that will be
unable to guide people’s actions. Individuals can have dozens of core principles, but
organizations need to keep their core values to a small number. This doesn’t mean they don’t
value other things; it just means they need to focus on the things that are truly core.
4. In organizations, as with people, core values are discovered, not chosen. The way to know
whether something is a core value is to ask, “Would we still hold to this even if we were
punished for it?”
The Impact Of Having The Right Mission And Living It
Defining the core of your life on the basis of Jesus’ teaching is what Jesus calls “building your life on
the rock” — if you do what he says and obey him: “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and
does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods
came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on
the rock” (Matt. 7:24 – 25).
To those who build on the rock by hearing Jesus’ words and doing them — not for God’s
acceptance but from God’s acceptance (Matt. 5:3) — Jesus will one day say: “Well done, good and
faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of
your master” (Matt. 25:21).
That’s the ultimate aim of life.
That wraps up the chapter. Let’s talk about some next steps. Matter of fact, let’s reduce it to one: Make A Mission Statement! Do it. Take the time to review these five parts if you haven’t been following along well, and then resolve yourself to actually write down a mission statement for your own life. Be creative, be sincere, and be bold. Take the time to do this for your own sake. Nobody can help you down the path of life if you won’t take the first steps. THIS is a great first step. It sets the compass of your life. Who am I? What am I here for?
Do this, and the rest will be stones along the path for you to plant your feet.
What mission statement did you create for yourself? Leave your personal one in the comments below. So far, mine is still in progress. But for now I have three words… Wise Christian Leader. That’s what I want to be known for. What about you?
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